Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Interesting support for Panetta

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Kathryn Jean Lopez of the National Review Online interviews a former CIA operative on the Panetta pick. Very interesting and unexpected stuff. It begins:

Ishmael Jones is a former deep-cover officer with the Central Intelligence Agency. He is author of The Human Factor: Inside the CIA’s Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture, published last year by Encounter Books. I asked him this morning what he thought of the Panetta pick and what Obama should be thinking about the CIA.

Q: Would Leon Panetta have been your CIA chief choice?

A: He’s an excellent choice because he will be loyal to the president first, not to the CIA. Mr. Obama needs someone who can be trusted, a person who will support him when the going gets tough.

A “safe” choice, viewed as inoffensive by the CIA’s top bureaucrats, would have been dangerous. Directors Tenet and Hayden were placid Washington civil servants of neutral loyalties, quickly coopted by the CIA’s bureaucracy. A military officer might have had good leadership experience but would have lacked sound partisan political connections.

The choice is a brave one because it can open Mr. Obama to charges of appointing a loyalist to a crucial post. But that is exactly what is needed at this time.

Q: What can he bring to the job?

A: Panetta has no espionage experience, but he has the only qualification he needs: the ability to bring the power of the presidency to bear.

Americans want President Obama to succeed, and for that he’ll need a CIA that can provide the intelligence necessary to protect Americans and our allies. If Mr. Obama relies less upon military strength, he will necessarily rely more upon intelligence.

Now that the Democrats are in charge, their focus shifts from winning power to holding it. A nuclear attack on America or an ally that could have been prevented through intelligence reform will severely harm the new president and his party.

Q: More generally speaking: Whomever the nominee, what’s the opportunity Obama has to seize when it comes to the CIA? …

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

6 January 2009 at 11:36 am

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